title: Worksop Heritage Trail

Worksop Castle

A reconstruction of how the castle may have looked

Castle Hill, Worksop is a motte and bailey castle dating to the late eleventh or early twelfth century. A substantial flat topped mound (the motte), is surrounded by a massive defensive ditch and an exterior "counterscarp" bank. The summit of the motte was crowned by a large, stone shell keep within which were buildings such as a gatehouse, chapel and great hall. A wooden bridge connected the motte to another fortified enclosure known as the bailey. The bailey is now lost beneath the modern car park. This enclosure contained buildings essential for the day to day life of the castle including stables, accommodation, and kitchens.

The castle mound in 2008

The castle was built after the Norman Conquest in order to control the existing Anglo-Saxon town of "Werchesope". The founder was either the great Norman land owner Roger de Busli, or his successor William de Lovetot. Both were important men in the counties of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. By the late twelfth century the castle and manor had passed by marriage to the Furnivall family. The site would have functioned as an administrative centre for the manor, town and market of Worksop.

During the 1540s the scholar John Leland travelled through England recording ancient monuments. Leland visited Worksop Castle which he described as : "Cleane downe and scant knowen wher it was. The stones of the Castel were fetchid, as sum say, to make the fair lodge in Wyrkesoppe Parke." He goes on to say : "I am of the opinion that the Chanons [the monks of Radford Priory] had the ruins of the Castil stones to make the closure of their large waulles." It is clear that by the mid sixteenth century the castle had been completely demolished.

For further information please go to Worksop History.